How are the projects going?

How are the projects going?

I was recently asked this question and my first response was, “fine”. I am very optimistic so almost all of my responses usually denote a positive tone.

The inquirer accepted this response. However, I am also very honest and I followed with, “…there are some challenges, but they [projects] are still moving forward…

Sometimes projects have bumps in the road” was their response to my response. I agreed.

Before they could escape our office breakroom environment, I stepped up onto my project management podium and proceeded to describe a view about project challenges.

If you are still with me, and for other project managers, does this resonate with your experiences?

In the beginning of a project there is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the future; a future that will deliver millions of dollars, or solve world crises. Well, maybe not millions of dollars or world peace, but improved margins, new software, better processes, or a new building could be a result.

The team takes the project start’s positive energy and goes

Then, at some point in the project’s timeline, team members lower their heads and lose site of the vision on the horizon. This is when side-steps, back-steps, project halts, tensions rise, emergency meetings are held, all because an individual, or group, becomes focused on a particular task, or event. This type of disruption creates delays and angst. My experience has recognized this situation on a number of occasions. The challenge for the project manager, and should be that of the Executive Sponsor(s) as well, is to get everyone to raise their heads and refocus their energies onto the future.

I often ask myself, why do people do this, take their eyes away from the goal? Do they still want to make money or have a new building? If yes, then take that desire and focus on the steps that will get the project going in that direction versus back-steps, or unnecessary meetings.

At this point in a project’s life, I have come to recognize that there are two things that a project manager will have to do.

  1. Resurface those project kick-off vision statements and circulate to the team.
  2. Attend those extra meetings, write up additional reports, have more phone calls (ugh!)

Do you agree that these two things will happen? Which one will you devote more energy to?

The next time I get the question, how are the projects going, I will kick it up a notch and say, “Great!


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Filed under Business, Project Management, Technology

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